The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2014 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project Digital India have brought to fore the huge disconnect between Digital drive and educational malaise. Both are big on talk but short on action. According to the target set by the Government of India for 2014-15, about 50,000 villages were to be connected through a National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) by the end January. However, only 12 percent of the target has been met. The ASER doesn’t draw a rosy picture either.
All is not yet lost. The nation may have achieved a lot in the field of education, mainly due to the creation of new infrastructure and deployment of digital technologies, a lot more work needs to be done to make the goal of inclusive and digital education a reality. Many states are now distributing freebies to students to promote digital literacy.
In the current issue of digitalLEARNING, we have tried to present an overview of the ways by which the digital laboratory is impacting our system of education. We have interacted with the industry leaders and also with the academia to discover how teaching systems are getting transformed. A digital laboratory can fundamentally change the ways to teach and learn. A teacher and a student are the basic agents of change. The idea of “Digital Classrooms” where education is delivered through digital platforms has caught the imagination of the education community. They pose as a good strategy for engaging the digital generation and improving individualised learning opportunities. None has greater stake in the digital education than either of them. The possibilities are exponential. There is no end to the benefits that we can expect.
In this issue, we have also highlighted the need to bridge the industry-academia gap. The country has to take adequate steps towards bridging the gap between the academia and the industry. We have interacted with some of the leading stakeholders in education to develop strategies to address this core issue.